Zawa-zawa Shimo-Kitazawa (2000)

Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Veteran director Jun Ichikawa spins this affectionate portrait of the people who populate Shimokitazawa, a bohemian corner of Tokyo filled with small theater companies and smoky coffeehouses. The film centers on Yuki (Tomoko Kitagawa), a college-aged waitress at a hip café located near the train station. The establishment is run by Kyushirio (Yoshio Harada), who in his free time directs chambara (sword fighting) plays with his small acting troupe. The place is owned by Yoko (Lily), a longtime local who maintains a strictly platonic relationship with Kyushiro -- whether he wants it that way or not. Yuki is at something of an impasse. She feels her life is adrift and she doesn't know what to do with her boyfriend, Tatsuya (Masayoshi Ozawa). Change is in the wind, she feels, but she hasn't a clue what direction this change might go. Tatsuya, on his part, can't hold down a job, preferring to play the bongos instead. While Tatsuya has a fling with the owner of a used-clothing shop, Yuki starts to find her way after talking to her tart-tongued spinster aunt (Ingrid Fujiko Hemming) and after watching Kyushirio's play.